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Removing Moth Ball Smell from a Car

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The odor of mothballs is very pervasive and persistent. This is a page about removing moth ball smell from a car.


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June 13, 2011

How do I get a mothball smell out of a car?

By Pam H.


June 13, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try putting an open dish of vanilla in the car (only when you are not driving it of course) or set a couple of pieces of charcoal in a bowl in a couple places. Both absorb odors.

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June 14, 20110 found this helpful
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Try putting a bowl of white vinegar in the car overnight (or maybe several nights). It's great at removing cigarette smoke, might remove moth ball odor. Hope it helps.

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October 22, 2010

How do I get moth ball smell out of my car?

By Kistler8919 from Kutztown, PA


June 8, 20151 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had to put mothballs in a car that had some stuff stored in it. Once we got the car repaired and I removed the items. The smell (of course) lingered on. We used odoban... an odor removing spray. You can get it at walmart in the cleaning supplies. It eliminated the odor almost instantly. Spray a couple of days a row to keep smell from "creeping" back in... Good luck!

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 22, 2010

I can't get the moth ball smell out of my car! I have pretty much tried everything to take out the smell. I left my car outside with the windows down, the sunroof open, and the doors open for about a week straight. (I had to borrow my dad's vehicle during this time.) That did not do a single thing. I then sprayed 2 bottles of Lysol (the 99% one), a whole container of Febreze, broke a few bottles (on purpose) of perfume in the car, and still the smell was there. The other smells couldn't even be detected over the moth ball odor.


I then took several of the Sam's Club size boxes of baking soda and poured it on the floors, vacuumed it out, and repeated it 5 times. I also took a box of odor diminisher and did the same with that. I have leather seats in my car so I thoroughly cleaned the seats, the windows and the console. I have taken a whole box of fabric softener sheets and spread them throughout the car. I have air fresheners that are plugged in to the cigarette lighters, and on every single one of the air vents.

I have also taken a rug shampooing vacuum, used a pet odor shampoo in it, and shampooed my car twice from the floors to the ceilings. I have gone to several detailing shops and all have said that they don't know what to do about it. One man suggested a bottle of heavy duty stain remover, and of course that didn't work either. I have also tried coffee, lemons, and vanilla. After all of these different techniques nothing has seemed to work! With all of the different smells I have put in my car the only thing that you can smell are moth balls.


What do I do?

Samantha from MI


Removing Moth Ball Smell From Car

Luckily, I haven't had to learn from experience, but I was told if you coarsely crush charcoal briquettes and hang them in a cheesecloth bag or nylon, etc., it will eventually(?) absorb the odor. Also, this might be asinine to ask, but in all your work did you go over the trunk and checked the vents as well? Maybe the continuing odor is being transferred from the vents, so try a couple of removable sachets of charcoal tucked in the vent(s). Good luck! (05/20/2008)

By doodles

Removing Moth Ball Smell From Car

Buy a couple of cans of coffee (grounds); and put them in flat dishes (to increase surface area exposed) in the car. Close up the windows and leave it for several days. I know it will get rid of lots of odors; not sure about mothballs; but it is worth a try!


(I learned this trick from my mom; but its value was confirmed by a quartermaster who spent some time stationed at Guantanamo Bay in the 80s, and used the coffee trick to de-odorize a container that had lost refrigeration, allowing the whole load of meat to begin to rot. They steamcleaned the interior, then put the coffee in and closed it up for a few days. Worked like a charm.) (05/20/2008)

By Jill

Removing Moth Ball Smell from a Car

Sounds like a mothball or two is hiding in there somewhere? Maybe enlist friends to help you "follow your noses" to find one. Have doors and windows open so you can locate it. Good luck. (05/23/2008)

By Kim Churchman

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